Azlan Shah Hockey: Mandeep treble takes India past Japan

Kane Russell of Black Sticks

Rupinder Pal Singh gave India early success when he scored first for India in the 8th minute of the game.

In the match today, Great Britain and Australia fought hard to break the deadlock and it was in the 44th minute before the Kookaburras' scored their first goal via Trent Mitton. They started their campaign with a 2-2 draw with Great Britain in the opening match of the tournament.

Earlier, India had failed to replicate the performance they showcased against New Zealand and slumped to a 1-3 defeat against defending champions Australia.

India will now take on hosts Malaysia in their last match of the league stage on Friday.

Yesterday's match was a thrilling affair, with both teams setting out to attack.

The Indian defence was once again found out with Genki Mitani putting his side in the lead again with just eight seconds left in the quarter. "He is very hard to defend and in the circle out of nowhere he creates chances", Oltmans said, and then elaborated further.

But he made up nearly immediately when Talwinder Singh - who was playing his 50th global match - won India their first penalty corner.

The ball went off the goalkeeper's glove into the top of the net.

Although Japan went ahead through a Shota Yamada goal in the ninth minute, the Kiwis ended the first half with a 3-1 lead courtesy of goals by Kane Russel (18th and 32nd) and Sam Lane (35th). Defender Rupinder Pal Singh did well to assist forward SV Sunil who made space in the circle to attempt a field goal but the Japan defenders made the task tough for the experienced Sunil who couldn't make a strong enough connect to the ball.

India dominated ball possession to keep the pressure on Japan in the second quarter.

Malaysia forced seven penalty corners but squandered them all. "He needs further investigation when we get back to India".

Barring Mandeep Singh, who has now swelled his goal tally to five for the tournament, India have only had one goal scorer in Akashdeep Singh among the forwards.

Great Britain are coming off a 2-1 loss to Australia. India put out their goalkeeper to put one more outfield player.

Mandeep's first goal, a deflection from Harmanpreet's firm shot into the circle, brought India level at 2-2 in the 45th minute. Mandeep, the lean and nippy striker, celebrated his 22nd birthday in January. However, defender Harmanpreet Singh fired wide from back-to-back penalty corners.



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